And then there were two. With only three rounds remaining, the battle to become 2017 MotoGP champion is between reigning champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, and factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso. Only 11 points separate the pair as they head to Phillip Island, Australia this weekend for the second of three fly-away rounds before the season finale at Valencia.
Dovizioso was victorious at a rain-drenched Motegi with Marquez coming home in second after the pair had an epic battle for the race win. Marquez’s second place gave the young Spaniard his 100th career Grand Prix podium from 165 starts. Marquez is now in his fifth season competing in MotoGP with 61 of those podiums in the premier class.
Both Marquez and Dovizioso now have five wins each in 2017, Vinales following with three, and both Rossi and Dani Pedrosa have one win each from the fifteen races to date. Basically the top five in the championship have so far monopolised the top step of the podium. Not only have they monopolised the top step, the same largely can be said of podium places as a whole, with only 9 podium places taken by riders outside of the current top 5.
At Motegi the factory Yamahas struggled, with Valentino Rossi crashing heavily in the race. Thankfully no further damage was done to the leg he broke recently in a training accident. Team mate Maverick Vinales came home in ninth place and is now 41 points behind Marquez and 30 behind Doviziosa. While he can’t be ruled out completely for the title race, two podiums from the last nine races is by no means championship winning form.
Contrast that with Marquez who has eight podium finishes, and Dovizioso who has five over the same period and the only conclusion can be that the Yamaha rider will have to wait for 2018 to mount a challenge for the premier class title. Though as we saw in the British Superbike championship at the weekend in motorcycle racing anything can happen. It would be nice to see the championship go down to the wire and the last round in Valencia.
- Marc Marquez (Honda) 244 points
- Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 233
- Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) 203
- Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 170
- Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 168
- Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 125
The Moto2 title fight remains to be between Franco Morbidelli and Thomas Luthi. With Alex Marquez now 76 points behind the leader he is out of the running for the championship, though mathematically still in with a chance of second should Luthi have a catastrophic final three rounds. Even if Luthi were to no score in Australia and Mobidelli to win, the championship would not be decided, provided Luthi contested the final two rounds in Malaysia and Spain.
- Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 256 points
- Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 232
- Alex Marquez (Kalex) 180
- Miguel Oliveira (KTM) 166
- Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 143
- Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 135
Unlike its two larger capacity siblings the Moto3 title could be decided on Sunday. With Joan Mir 55 Points ahead of Romano Fenati the Spaniard will secure the championship in Australia should he finish second or first. Though second place would only put him 50 points ahead of Fenati with 50 points remaining, should Mir no score in the final two rounds he would take the crown by virtue of having more race wins than his Italian rival.
- Joan Mir (Honda) 271 points
- Romano Fenati (Honda) 216
- Aron Canet (Honda) 184
- Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 146
- Jorge Martin (Honda) 135
- John Mcphee (Honda) 112